Stolen Civil War Gun Returned to Museum After 36 Years
More than three decades after a rare Civil War gun disappeared from The Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Va., it has made its way home after a Knoxville, Tenn. woman found it in her father's belongings.
Krissy Evans found the revolver--a .36-caliber Spiller and Burr valued at more than $50,000--in father's possessions after he died last year, reports the Knoxville News.
"This is the first thing to ever come back to our museum since it walked out of here," Catherine Wright, collections manager for the museum says. "This is one of the best presents we could have asked for."
The gun vanished in December 1975, probably during a move to a new building. The six-shot revolver is one of only about 1,400 made between 1862 and 1864 and was carried by George Washington Rains, a Mexican War veteran from New Bern, N.C. His daughter-in-law donated the revolver to the museum in 1915 at the close of the war's 50th anniversary.
Evans had taken the gun to be appraised and the dealer noticed it looked like the gun listed as missing from the museum. The dealer called the museum, which in turn called the FBI, which arranged for the gun's return.
Officials still don't know how her father acquired the gun--maybe unknowingly at a relics show.
"We have no idea who actually stole it," Wright says to the paper. "The lady was perfectly horrified and happy to hand it over."
Evans will not face any charges, reports WTVR. She has no idea how her father got the gun. He never lived in Richmond, but was a collector of Civil War items.
The museum plans to display the revolver in February.
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Photo courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution.